Encouragement Despite Discouragement

Out of Control

Don’t Let Yourself Spin Out of Control

PERSONAL PRAYER: My heart lies open before you.  You see my insecurities, faults, weaknesses, rebellion, offenses, sins, loneliness, and a multitude of others I am not aware of.  Yet, you in you grace and mercy and love, call me unto yourself and blanket me in your arms.  This world I do not want.  Your Kingdom and sitting at the Precious feet of Jesus is what my hearts desire.  I do not profess to understand why my family and I are going through financial woes again.  My heart thinks: family knows our needs, friends know and yet no one steps up for bigger money issues we face.  The lesson I see is God is bigger than all problems of this life and they don’t even  compare to Sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for this world and ALL people in it.  I am believing with all my heart you will provide the rent and all finances for bills on the first of February, 2013.  I can not believe you would allow us to be homeless-we have come to close to this to many times and you have ALWAYS made a way.  Keep my heart from failing Lord I pray: breath your strength into my lungs-Lord you know my take on current job front-I seriously need direction- What do you want me to do?  My tears are dried up like a desert-I feel weak in strength physically and spiritually:  Deliver us Lord in the name of Jesus-I can’t go on like this: I am sorry Father, I just can’t: I’m at the end of my rope and looking for the way out YOU promised to always provide when we can’t bare anymore.  I am at end of myself-I know I can’t proceed without you.  The spinning chair above represents how my life seems.  I cry out Father, HELP, hear my plea!   In Jesus name, Amen.

Today’s promise: Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

Do you fall into discouragement after spiritual highs?

Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.… Then he went alone into the desert.… He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.

1 Kings 19:3-4 NLT

About this week’s promise

Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. To lead him out of depression, God first let Elijah rest and eat. Then God confronted him with the need to return to his mission in life — to be God’s prophet.

Elijah’s battles were not over; there was still work for him to do. Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those that produce a high level of emotional excitement or that require a lot from us physically. When you feel let down after a spiritual “high,” do what is necessary to restore your inner resources. And remember that God still has a purpose and plan for you.

Adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 311.

Digging Deeper

For more on facing discouragement, see The One Year® Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie, Tyndale House Publishers (2005).

Through a year’s worth of thoughtful entries, the reader will learn how much God longs to lift us up, carry us through in times of difficulty and uncertainty, and give us true, lasting joy. Each daily step draws you closer to a God who truly cares and the hopeful life he wants you to enjoy.


If the devil cannot make you puffed up by pride, he will try to dampen your spirit by discouragement. It’s his best tool!
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

The upper part of The Transfiguration (1520) b...

The upper part of The Transfiguration (1520) by Raphael, depicting Christ miraculously discoursing with Moses and Elijah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OH THE MERCY OF GOD

God will fight for you

morning- cross

Does God hold our sins against us?

 

Oh, do not hold us guilty for our former sins! Let your tenderhearted mercies quickly meet our needs, for we are brought low to the dust. Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the honor of your name. Oh, save us and forgive our sins for the sake of your name.… Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever, praising your greatness from generation to generation.  Psalm 79:8-9,13 NLT

 

Petition for Mercy

 

A plea to God for mercy presumes that the petitioner is guilty. It is the cry of someone brought low, dishonored, and in need of forgiveness. When God shows mercy, he isn’t forgiving that person because of what he or she has done, but because God is compassionate to those who repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness. It is only because of God’s goodness that sinners are forgiven. Asaph understood that it wasn’t his worthiness but the Lord’s greatness that prompted the Lord to rescue him. In light of this truth, Asaph dedicated this prayer to praising God for being so merciful.
Are you in need of God’s mercy? His love and goodness are the source of your hope. Cast yourself on his mercy and let your lips overflow with grateful praise.From The One Year Book of Bible Prayers (Tyndale House), entry for February 22

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE!

The Fruit of Kindness

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“When the Holy Spirit controls your life, he will produce this kind of fruit in us:…kindness, goodness.”

Galatians 5:22 NLT

 

In spite of it all

On that ghastly Friday morning, which ironically has become known as “Good Friday,” Jesus was a swollen, bloody mess. Most of his friends had hightailed it hours before, leaving him alone to face the physical agony of crucifixion, the emotional anguish of a jeering crowd, and the spiritual horror of separation from God the Father.
Yet during this entire nightmare, Christ responded, well, strangely. On the way to his execution, he paused to console a group of grief-stricken women. He used what little breath he was able to catch to pray for those who were so merciless to him. He demonstrated compassion and forgiveness to a criminal dying at his side. And he took pains, literally, to see that his grief-stricken mother below him would be cared for by a friend.
In the ultimate “tough time,” Christ oozed kindness and goodness.  And because his Spirit lives in us, we also have the capacity to use personal tragedy as an opportunity to care for others.

Praying God‘s Promise: Cause your kindness and goodness to flow through me, Lord. It is not natural for me to think of others or to think of glorifying you, especially when my own life is filled with pain. Teach me to live supernaturally. I want to be selfless like you, Jesus, always looking for opportunities to bless others.
From Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 154-55

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

God Always Wants Us To Come To Him In Christ

The consequences of unconfessed sin

Is Your Name

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.”

Psalm 66:18-19 NLT

The elephant in the room

It is bad to be in trouble. It is worse to be in trouble and on the outs with God. According to this passage, penned by King David, if we are harboring sinful attitudes in our hearts or willfully indulging in sinful activities, we should not expect God to respond to our prayers.
This is not because God doesn’t love us. He does — more than we realize. It’s not because God doesn’t want to help us. He longs to deliver us. It’s simply that a holy God cannot wink at sin or look the other way. Intimacy with God requires honesty, humility, purity.
For us to attempt to approach God without first addressing the ways in which we have knowingly offended and wronged him is an exercise in futility. Sin is the “elephant in the room” that must be acknowledged and dealt with. Once we do that, we again enjoy sweet fellowship with God. Clean and forgiven, we can be sure he hears our pleas for help.
Praying God’s Promise: Lord, you do not listen to my prayers when I have unconfessed sin in my life. By your Spirit give me the humility I need to take a hard look at my soul. Show me, God, any wrong attitudes and actions that I need to acknowledge. I want to be right with you. I want to be close to you. Thank you for pledging to hear those who humble themselves and acknowledge their sin. May my sins, which block me from you when I don’t confess them, become a bridge to you as I admit them, forsake them, and experience your forgiveness.
From the Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 8-9

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT “I AM” LORD

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

PHILIPPIANS 4:3

Psalm 46:10

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Where is the focus of your life?

Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. This is true, and everyone should accept it. We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe the truth, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe.”

1 Timothy 4:8-10 NLT

The faithful worker

A friend of Bernie May‘s (U.S. division director of Wycliffe) had the opportunity to meet a king and queen. This man worked in a tiny nation, doing community-development work. Struggling to encourage tribal people living in the high mountain valleys was difficult, and he often wondered if he was doing any good. It was easy to get discouraged.
He was invited to a stand-up dinner party on the castle lawn, hosted by the queen. He felt deeply honored to be invited. In the crowd of about 400 local people, he stood out as an obvious Westerner.
The king and queen spent an hour and a half going through the crowd, greeting each guest. When the royal couple came to May’s friend, he told them his name and the work he was doing. The king hesitated. He was not familiar with the mountain village where the man worked. The queen, who had met him earlier, gave a brief explanation to the king. The king then asked how long he had been there.
He replied, “Sixteen years.” The king seemed touched. Looking him in the eye, he said meaningfully, “Excellent.” He then moved on to the next person.
Bernie May’s friend admitted it was a short conversation, but that was all he needed to hear. He had heard the king say, “Excellent.”

From John Blanchard, The Truth for Life (H.E. Walter) quoted in 1001 Great Stories and Quotes by R. Kent Hughes (Tyndale) p 201  

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

GOD IS THE MASTER BUILDER

God blesses humble people

GLORY OF MY LORD

GLORY OF MY LORD

God as house-builder

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.”

Psalm 127:1 NLT

Unless the Lord builds the house

Benjamin Franklin is best known for his inventions (lightning rod) and his aphorisms (“early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”). But he was also a key figure when the thirteen colonies were giving birth to a new nation.
At the age of 81, Franklin was the oldest representative at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Weeks after the convention began, representatives were still haggling about the relative voting power of large states and small states. Then Franklin stood up and said,

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.…Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men.…We have been assured, sir, that ‘except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it,’ and without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”

The verse from Psalm 127 had its effect. A compromise was soon worked out, and a Constitution ratified by the states the following year.
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for October 27

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

HUMILITY

 God blesses humble people

hug

Humility, not humiliation

Father, You Always Said...

Father, You Always Said…

“You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud.”

Psalm 18:27 NLT

The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts.”

Isaiah 57:15 NLT

“May God’s grace give you the necessary humility. Try not to think — much less, speak — of their sins. One’s own are a much more profitable theme! And if on consideration, one can find no faults on one’s own side, then cry for mercy: for this must be a most dangerous delusion.”

Humility is not effacing oneself. It is not destroying one’s sense of self-worth. It is honest recognition of our own worth, our worth as God sees us. Pride elevated us above others, and often above God himself. But to destroy one’s sense of self-worth is also unacceptable, for it denies the value God placed upon us when he created us in his image and when he sent his Son to die for us. Christ did not die for worms but for people he loves very much, and those people have great worth or value in God’s eyes. To see ourselves as God sees us — that is our goal. From the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1217

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House